I have forgiven someone, but I still feel like a victim. I want to grow beyond this view of myself as a victim. What is the next view of myself that you see as usually happening for people?
To see yourself as a victim means that you know you have been wronged. As you are seeing, if you keep this as your identity, then you are seeing yourself in a one-down position in that someone is keeping you down, keeping you under that person’s power. The next step is to see that you are a survivor. You have survived the attempt by others to keep you in a one-down position. The step after that is to see yourself not only as a survivor but also as a thriver. In other words, in your surviving the injustices, you have grown in your humanity, and you are now even better than before. I wish you the best in this journey of growth.
It seems to me that when we forgive a lot, then we are actually growing in our humanity. Is there such a thing as growing in our humanity and is forgiveness a pathway to this?
According to Plato and Aristotle, as we grow in the virtues of justice, courage, temperance, and wisdom, then we are growing in our essence of what it means to be human. So, yes, I do think that we can grow in our humanity. Further, I do think that forgiveness helps us grow in our humanity because it melts our resentment, making justice even more fair, allowing for more courage rather than fear, balancing our emotions so we can be more temperate, and when we are free of resentment, then we have the opportunity to have more wisdom or to know the proper way of responding to different situations, even challenging situations.
This is one of three ways (personal, global, and cosmic perspectives) of thinking about the one whom you want to forgive. For the global perspective, we ask you to see the common humanity that you share with the one who offended you. You both need a little air to breathe; you both need good nutrition to stay healthy; if either of you are cut, then you bleed. Both of you have unique DNA so that when either of you dies, there never will be another person just like you on this planet. This makes each of you special, unique, and irreplaceable.
For additional information, see Why Forgive?